June 20, 2023

Understanding the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program

BMWs parked in a lot with Enel X Way DC fast chargers

Whether you run gas stations and convenience stores, an event venue, a grocery chain, a hotel, parking garages, restaurants, shopping centers or a transit center, the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula program could significantly benefit your operations. The NEVI Program is a $5B piece of the US’s 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which made a historic investment in both electric vehicles (EVs) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). 


The program’s target is quite specific: reducing range anxiety to pave the way for faster EV adoption. While improved range and affordable, accessible home and public charging have already made range anxiety a non-issue for short-to-medium distance commuters, it has the potential to resurface as commercial fleets and ride services electrify. Driving an EV around town for ten straight hours or an electric truck cross country over a few days requires wait-free access to rapid charging once or twice a day. 


How the NEVI Program helps reduce range anxiety for the next wave of EV adoption

The NEVI Program will ensure drivers have access to the fast charging they need by granting funds to install Level 3 fast chargers at least every 50 miles along what are called Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs). Level 3 fast chargers use DC power to recharge EVs in well under an hour. The fastest Level 3 chargers, like the JuicePump 350 kW, can take an EV from near-empty to 80% in 30 minutes. 


map of the US highway system

Source: FHWA

Green bars represent current AFCs, Red dotted lines represent pending AFCs


The NEVI program focuses on AFCs because of the role they play in long-range drives; AFCs make up the most frequently traveled 75,000 miles of highway routes crisscrossing the country. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and state departments of transportation are still designating some AFCs, but many have already been laid out.


map showing highway that is part of the NEVI rollout


map showing highway that is part of the NEVI rollout compared to chargers within metro area

Source: ArcGIS

Compared to the ubiquity of gas stations along highways, public EV chargers are still quite sparse in some spots—like the above stretch of AFC from Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado. What’s more, the bottom map shows both Level 2 and Level 3 chargers within five miles of highway offramps. 


Only Level 3 fast chargers can meet the needs of drivers traveling long distances and looking to get back on the road quickly and the NEVI program aims to get Level 3 chargers installed within one mile of highway offramps. Given current coverage, there’s still tremendous opportunity to install Level 3 chargers with help from the NEVI program and reap the benefits. 


How organizations benefit from fast public charging stations

Public charging is in many ways a new business proposition for organizations, with a unique set of benefits. While they can drive revenue directly through fees paid by drivers or rent paid by station owner/operators, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. 


Level 3 chargers increase both foot traffic and dwell time, bringing customers to your location to charge and keeping them there for 15-40 minutes. Unlike the quick-stretch-and-bathroom-break routine gas-powered car drivers have when refueling, EV drivers try to combine meals, shopping and sometimes sleep with recharging. Organizations can use this to help motivate EV drivers to make purchases, tying incentives like in-store discounts and parking passes to charging station usage.


Where NEVI Program funding goes

States are already receiving NEVI Program funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and will until 2026, when the full $5B has been distributed. Each state gets (pg. 994) the same percent of that $5B as the federal government gave them in 2021 for these six programs combined:

That means funding varies widely state-to-state. Alabama, for instance, received 1.9% of the total federal dollars awarded to all states for those six programs, so is estimated to receive just over $79M in NEVI Program funding between 2022 and 2026. 


Funding is only confirmed after states’ plans for EVSE deployment have been approved by the FHWA. Here’s a look at all the state plans and their funding for 2023


When a state finishes placing DC fast chargers every 50 miles across all its AFCs, they can award their NEVI Program funding to organizations to build public charging stations at other public locations and along roads agreed to by the DOT. That means even if your site location disqualifies you from NEVI Program funding right now, it could qualify in the next couple years. 


How to get NEVI Program funding

NEVI funding is extremely generous per state and per project. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act indicates that grants should cover 80% of project costs, including installation, hardware, and software. With the average 150 kW DC fast charging station costing around $61,000+ for hardware and another $54,000+ for installation, that’s more than $90k of savings! What’s more, the NEVI Program requires a minimum of four 150 kW fast charging plugs be installed, which would mean at least two charging stations. That could add up to nearly $180k in savings. 


NEVI Program funding can also be stacked with other funding, like the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit. Together those two incentives could cover 100% of EVSE costs, from purchase through to installation and software subscription fees. 


Beside the four charging plug minimum requirement, to get NEVI funding, projects must have:

  • Charging stations that are at least available to authorized commercial EV operators from more than one company, if not publicly available

  • A minimum total charging capacity of 600 kW

  • At least one universal connector (CCS Type 1) per charging station

  • Charging stations located within one mile of an AFC exit and at least every 50 miles along AFCs

  • Charging stations that maintain at least 97% uptime, meet ISO15118 standards, and accept credit card payments

  • Chargers that are Buy America Act compliant


Public charging station uptime (i.e., the percent of the time the charging station is working properly) has been a principal concern for EV drivers until now. But downtime also impacts EVSE owners: public charging stations only bring customers when customers can use them. 


NEVI’s uptime requirements can seem lofty, but they are easily achievable with the help of an experienced charge point operator like Enel X Way. We guarantee 99% uptime to all our Charging-as-a-Service (CaaS) customers. 


The NEVI Program application process can be complex and time intensive. Because funding is limited, dragging out the application could cause you to miss a funding window. An expert partner like Enel X Way will help ensure you get funding before it’s gone and free you up to focus on core priorities. 

Get on your way to NEVI Program funding today

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